13 - 19
August 2023
39 Thidaporn MAIHOM (Thailand)
to read

Who are the contending teams that have been up in Division A?

BANGKOK (Thailand) - The only way is up. That’s the direction that the teams playing in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023 Division B are looking towards as they challenge each other for promotion up to Division A.

Among the 8 teams playing in the tourney situated in Bangkok, Thailand from 13-19 August, there are a few that have already experienced the level of play in Division A. They’ll be giving their best efforts in order to get back to that stage, which means they need to win it all here in Division B.

Here’s a quick look at the teams in the playing field that have played in Division A.

Disclaimer: The Women’s Asia Cup implemented the two-division format in 1994, which was previously referred to as Level 1 and Level 2 until 2017. The current promotion/relegation format is that the winner of the Final in Division B is promoted to Division A for the next edition of the competition, while the last-placed team in Division A is relegated to Division B for the next edition of the competition.


Not only are Thailand the hosts of this Women’s Asia Cup Division B, they are also the team with the most appearances in Division A with 8. They’ll be banking on some of that home-court advantage to help bring that number up to 9 when all is dusted and done.

However, it’s been quite a while since they’ve played in Division A - or even competed for promotion from Division B, actually. Thailand’s last appearance in a Women’s Asia Cup was in 2015 when they were relegated and have not played in the competition since.

One fact that Thailand might use as a rallying point within the team: The last time that they gained promotion from Division B was a decade ago in 2013 when they also hosted the competition.

It was a tough competition that included a loss to the Philippines, a narrow and crucial win over Malaysia that earned them the top spot in the standings, and an eventual win over Kazakhstan that rewarded Thailand with a ticket to Division A. Thailand’s stars from that competition like Penphan Yothanan (13.3 points per game on 40.3 percent three-point shooting) have since stepped back from national team playing duties and more into coaching roles, but her impact is still felt in the local basketball circles.


Kazakhstan are always among the best teams in Division B, but they’ve had their unfortunate shortcomings along the way. Since making their debut in 1994, they’ve played in Division A twice (in 1995 and 2013), though that number could be a bit higher if the ball rolled in their favor a bit more in some occasions.

The most glaring example is the heartbreak in 2017 when Kazakhstan lost in the Final to host India on a go-ahead basket in the waning seconds. That wiped clean a 14-point lead that Kazakhstan had built as well as their hopes of making it back to Division A.

In 2013, as mentioned above, they lost to hosts Thailand and were relegated.
In 2011, they lost to Lebanon with Division A promotion on the line.
In 2005, a 5-point loss to DPR Korea kept them away from moving up.

That is not how they will want to go out in 2023.

Kazakhstan could potentially have some familiar star presence, as national team regulars Tamara Yagodkina and Zalina Kurazova are still performing at a high level. In particular, Kurazova was even named the MVP of the recent 2022-23 season of the national league.


Malaysia are one of the most active teams in the Women’s Asia Cup, though they have not played in the competition since 2015 like Thailand. The team has always hovered around the status of being a contender for Division A promotion, but so far have played at that level once (in 2007) since the change of format in 1994.

But again, they are always knocking on the door leading to Division A play. They missed out on the Qualifying Game round in 2015, but in that run, Malaysia did beat the Philippines. Prior to that, Malaysia were tormented by facing India in four consecutive Qualifying Round games from 2007 to 2013 in which they suffered 4 straight losses that kept them away from Division A.

With India not playing in 2023, could that be a good sign for Malaysia? At the very least, Malaysia will have a slight upper hand against Thailand who they recently beat in the recent 2023 SEA Games to end up with the Bronze Medal of the competition.

Fook Yee Yap and Pang Hui Pin were the key stars for Malaysia in their last Women’s Asia Cup appearance back in 2015 and they are expected to be back as veteran leaders for this Malaysia squad.